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Highest Rated Teaching Modules

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Highest Rated Teaching Modules


"How to choose a good Wife from a bad...": Were Othello and Desdemona doomed from the start?
It is easy to reduce Othello and Desdemona's failed marriage to Iago's scheming and Othello's jealousy. But the rules of choosing and keeping a wife were slightly different in 1615, according to Alexander Niccholes's book, "A discourse, of marriage …


Lesson 19: Friendship in Julius Caesar


This lesson will focus on the terms used to express friendship in Shakespeare's world, today's world, and in a gender-free context. Students will act this out in a variety of ways.


This lesson will take one class …


Calling All Directors

To practice close reading using both performance and directing techniques, and thus understanding multiple meanings and layers of a scene; to actively engage all students, especially those who are shy and less apt to read …


Easing into Shakespeare with a Modern Sonnet: Lesson 1 

Possible Prequel: a lesson on iambic pentameter. See Living Pentameter on the Folger YouTube channel.


Modern sonnets can …


Bill's Allusive Nature: An Introduction to Shakespeare

As teachers, we often begin a unit on Shakespeare by explaining why we put so much emphasis on a single author. I simply state that Shakespeare is everywhere. Many authors borrow Shakespeare's plots (A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley, …


Pyramus and Thisbe, Page to Stage

In this lesson, students will read Ovid's story of Pyramus and Thisbe, either in the 1587 translation that Shakespeare might have known or on a modern website. They will attempt to turn the story into a dramatic scene, mimicking …


"If You'll a willing Ear Incline"--the audience in the play

Through a close reading of this scene, students will learn about Elizabethan staging practice, in particular, the incorporation of the audience into the stage action. This will enable them to recognize how an active audience can have a profound …


Sculptures of the Seven Ages
This lesson introduces a kinesthetic method for deepening reading comprehension. This technique can be used with any soliloquy that is more descriptive (image-rich) than discursive (idea-rich); in fact, it works well with most poetry. It uses …


A Boxful of Character

In this lesson students will create life boxes based on the text of any Shakespeare play and present these boxes to the class. A life box is a container with everyday items that relate to a character. Choosing items to represent elements of a …


Do Clothes Make the Man?

Dress is an important indicator of social status. In this lesson, students will use one of Queen Elizabeth I’s sumptuary proclamations in order to illustrate what the characters in The Merchant of Venice would wear and to compare …


Folger on the Ramparts
Students will use the website "Hamlet on the Ramparts" to investigate different ways of producing the ghost scenes 1.4 and


"I will not hear that play": Performing a Silent Scene
One of the obstacles students face when reading Shakespeare is not being able to imagine the action that accompanies the text. This lesson--based on an exercise introduced by Michael Tolaydo at the 2000 Teaching Shakespeare Institute--has …


Illuminating Our Human Experiences: Soliloquy from Hamlet 

This lesson is meant to be conducted over a period of at least 3 class periods, which may or may not be consecutive. Teachers will introduce the soliloquy as a literary device and the themes of William …


Macbeth: A Three-Dimensional Approach

The purpose of "Macbeth: A Three Dimensional Approach" is to provide a framework for teaching Macbeth which reviews and builds on student prior knowledge from previous Shakespeare study and provides a cross-curricular …


Measure for Measure: Illuminating the script

Students will learn to recognize, analyze, and synthesize the concept of ambiguity. Specifically, the students will extend and  illuminate the text of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure 5.1, debating the ambiguity in …


Shakespeare in Parts

In Shakespeare's theater, actors did not have access to a complete script of a play; instead, they learned their lines from manuscript parts that contained their lines and only a very brief cue. By staging moments from Shakespeare with cue sheets …


Six Characters in Search of a Play

Students will associate voice and movement with character traits and develop an understanding of the character traits and motivations of the ‘rude mechanicals” as they develop a play for the Duke …


Writing a Group Sonnet:  Lesson 8 
Composing a sonnet as a class or a group can be an effective way of reinforcing understanding of the sonnet’s pattern and of paving the way for writing individual sonnets. Starting with a rhyme scheme and working …


You Can't Go Home Again (or, If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother)

Students will confront the central problem of this play: Hamlet's dilemmas. Focusing on Hamlet's reactions to the death of his father and the remarriage of his mother, students will study the text and grasp its subtleties by assuming the roles of …


The Tempest: Picture Poems

Students will write descriptive poems of selected images of The Tempest using vocabulary from a word bank (a collection of Shakespearean words and phrases divided into useful descriptive categories.) This activity will …

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